How to Adopt a Dog or Puppy from Out of State

Posted by:tails on Mar - 25 - 2011 - Filed under: Blog-Posts,Choosing a Dog -

By Kathryn M. D’Imperio

If you are looking to adopt a dog or puppy from out of state, there are a few special steps you should know about before you make the commitment. Adopting a dog, while noble and wonderful, isn’t without its own challenges – especially when you find your perfect dog in another state or faraway location. Be sure to do your research and learn about what’s involved when you adopt a pet dog from afar.

We adopted our wonderful dog Moko from a shelter in Utah. I actually begged the owner of the shelter to allow us to adopt her and fly her to Pennsylvania. I offered to do all the legwork in finding and arranging flights and anything else she needed on my end. I so desperately wanted to adopt this little puppy that I finally convinced her to process my adoption agreement.

adopt-from-out-of-state moko baby

If you have your heart set on a puppy or dog in another state, don’t give up. Keep your focus on the logistics of the adoption and proceed courteously and with true dedication. Consider these tips to help you when you want to adopt a dog or puppy from out of state.

1.    Use a service like to help you find a dog to adopt. You can search by dog breed, gender, age, and location. I searched the whole East Coast and part of the way inland before I switched to the West Coast and worked my way inland from there. I finally found our pup in Utah, but she was exactly as I envisioned her!

Adopt a dog, don't buy a dog!2.    Find out if the shelter with the dog you like adopts out of state. Before you get your heart set on the pup, it is a good idea to make sure you are eligible to complete the adoption. Some shelters only adopt out pets locally. Others may strongly prefer local adoptions since they can be easier than out-of-state pet adoptions, but may still consider your request if you present it well enough.

3.    Decide if you will be meeting your pet for pickup or having your dog shipped to you. You can make it a road trip, take a flight, or simply have your dog flown as cargo. Make the appropriate plans based on your decision.

4.    If you are having your dog flown to you, you may need to make arrangements with the shelter first. Be sure the vet has cleared your dog or puppy to fly. Also, you may need to purchase a pet carrier if one is not included with your adoption fee. Some dog breeds, pugs and bulldogs for example,  actually can’t fly if it is too hot and humid on a particular day.

5.    Complete and return any paperwork and pay the shelter their adoption fee. Your new pup should be in your arms very soon at this point! If you’ve gotten the shelter to agree to accept your agreement, you can probably rest a little easier that the adoption is going to go through – congratulations!

6.    Pick up your pet at the airport, shelter, or other pickup location. Adopting a dog from out of state can be relatively easy as long as you cover all your bases! Enjoy your new family member and don’t forget to set up your furry friend’s first vet visit now!

Please share any other tips you may have on how to adopt a dog or puppy from out of state in our comments.

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